THE GOG BLOG SPEAKS OUT-HEY PGA DON’T RUN AWAY

THE GOG BLOG by Editor and Director of Content Rory Spears. Follow Rory to French Lick Resort and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy. Plan your next trip to the French Lick Resort at Frenchlick.com

THE PGA IS ON THE MOVE, where, anywhere but here it is starting to feel like.

While top Chicago area clubs like Olympia Fields and Kemper Lakes have or will be hosting the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, it seems like other top clubs are getting the even bigger prizes.

It is quite an honor to host the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, but

Callaway’ Paul Schlimm holds the Epic Driver, one of the hottest new clubs in 2017. Callawaygolf.com

some clubs are looking at the other tournaments on the PGA’s list of championships. With the PGA Championship or a Ryder Cup on the top of the list. Olympia Fields and Kemper Lakes would take either one.

There are some folks who will tell you that Olympia Fields got the shaft from the USGA, for hosting the U.S. Amateur in 2015 and then not getting awarded a U.S. Open in return for doing so.

While hosting the U.S. Amateur is something special, the cost clubs

The indoor golf area at the Schaumburg Golf Club, ready to keep you playing golf, all year long. Schaumburggolf.com

endure for hosting such an event is starting to become close to a million dollars. The amount they receive in return from the USGA for doing so is less than $50,000.

Where U.S. Amateur hosting clubs get that money back, is by putting on a U.S. Open a few years later. The profit for a U.S. Open is in the millions.

PGA of America events turn a profit as well, including the KPMG. But that number is not what one receives for a PGA Championship, a Ryder Cup or even in some cases a Sr. PGA Championship. With the future dates of the PGA Championship changing to May starting in 2019, the PGA is now looking at other clubs to host it’s biggest tournaments.

THE PAR 4 16TH HOLE at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Kildeer is now a brute with it’s new tee boxes. It might play as the toughest Par 4, in the Chicago area. Standing on the 16th tee box at Kemper Lakes.

Several weeks ago the word broke that Southern Hills in Tulsa Oklahoma will receive a PGA Championship between 2025 and 2030. Southern Hills which I have played twice, in my opinion is overrated.

My favorite architect Keith Foster is the clubs current architect. Even Foster has not yet been able to make the course into what it needs to be. But he’s trying to give it some credibility. Olympia Fields North is a much better golf course, and not just because it’s in the Chicago area. During my last visit to Southern Hills, I heard from various club staff members that the last PGA held at Southern Hills (2007) would be the last one ever, and experience with the PGA was terrible. The PGA of America would never be welcomed back, apparently times have changed.

Then last week the news broke that the Olympic Club in San Francisco has jumped from being a USGA site, and will host a PGA Championship and likely the Ryder Cup in 2032. Then this week the announcement is expected that Valhalla, a club owned by the PGA will host the 2024 PGA Championship. Former PGA of America President Ted Bishop even once suggested that Valhalla should be the permanent American soil site of the Ryder Cup. Umm No !

I like Valhalla it’s a nice Jack Nicklaus designed course. I was there to cover the 2000 PGA Championship won by Tiger over Bob May in a playoff, and played the course the next day. While it also did a nice job hosting the Ryder Cup in 2008, it really isn’t a course that screams out for a quick return of an event like the Ryder Cup. Medinah might, but Valhalla does not. Some players joked that the 18th green is shaped like a toilet seat and that’s the rep the closing hole has. So when you lose a match on the 18th hole, I guess all you do is flush it away.

TODAY THE NEWS IS that 2018 BMW Championship host Aronimink will land the 2020 KPMG and the 2027 PGA Championship. So why is Aronimink getting a quick PGA Championship after hosting a KMPG, while both Chicago clubs hosting a KPMG Women’s PGA, have been awarded nothing going forward.

I’M WAITING for the PGA to jump up and award Olympia Fields the National Club Pro Championship, since the championship needs to two courses and Olympia Fields has, yes you guessed it, two championship golf courses.

Before the PGA of America runs out of dates over the next ten years, it would be nice for either Olympia Fields or Kemper Lakes to be awarded another championship from the PGA.

In 2024 the USGA will remember Payne Stewart during the 25th year of his passing and his last major championship, the 1999 U.S. Open by returning to Pinehurst. The PGA could honor Stewart that year as well by going back to the site of Stewart’s first major win, the 1989 PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes. It makes so much sense that it likely won’t happen.

It’s time to announce a Sr. PGA and another PGA Championship in Chicago. I hope Olympia Fields and Kemper Lakes are not being sold false hopes of another big PGA event by the PGA of America, while both clubs have or will be going all out for the KPMG.

Chicago golf fans and both clubs deserve more and deserve better. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.